“The toast hit the floor, marmalade-side-down.” On Saturday night of April 17, 2021, the unimaginable happened. Tesla Model S crashed into an enormous tree, causing two fatalities. 59-year-old Dr. William Varner, with his friend 69-year-old Everette Talbot. The deadly crash occurred in Houston, Texas. Plenty of spectators consider the misuse of Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driver aid system is held accountable for. As police report, the men who died in this fiery crash, the first was sitting in the passenger seat, and the other was in the back. The aftermath of the Tesla Model S deadly crash broke all hell loose.
Authorities claimed a few days later no one was behind the wheel. Federal agencies reported investigation squads would join them at the crash site. Nonetheless, CEO Elon Musk tweeted apropos of this tragic catastrophe. He said that recovered data from Tesla so far does not show that Tesla’s Autopilot driver-aid software has been enabled. Moreover, the suburban road where the crash took place would not allow it to be activated, to begin with.
Local authorities pronounced they were issuing a warrant to examine that data.
Furthermore, on Tesla’s website regarding Auto-Pilot, it states that your hands must be close to the steering wheel, and you must be looking ahead.
Deputies believe the EV was traveling “at a high speed when it failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn”, in reality though, it is still unknown.
Hell did break loose. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) along with the National Transportation Safety Board thoroughly investigated the case. It is said that the government is up to real regulatory action over semi-automated driving systems, like Autopilot. Additionally, NHTSA has already over 20 active investigations into Tesla crashes, with four cases for the past couple of months. Elon, however, thinks otherwise.
So Tesla Model S flew off a suburban road and hit a huge tree, instantaneously bursting into an inferno.
It was reported that the EV kept burning for 4 whole hours whilst firefighters attempted to annihilate the flames. In the course of battling with the fire, authorities had to contact Tesla, getting instructions on how to extinguish battery fire. Firefighters used 32,000 water gallons to exterminate the blaze.
There was a plethora of circumstantial evidence but no hard evidence that Tesla S had been using Autopilot when the accident happened. Since the vehicle is substantially consumed to ashes, onboard data that would give authorities information needed are profoundly lost. Therefore, all that there is are Tesla’s internal records.
Since we already have the information about Tesla, Harris County authorities reported that they will have a search warrant for Tesla. They did indeed, a few days after the crash, to attain authentic and secure data.
Authorities did not assure people that Autopilot is the reason for the crash or at least the reason as to why no passenger was behind the wheel. Nevertheless, this might very well be the case.
One of the most advanced driving aids in the EV market today is the Autopilot. Over the past few years, it has become under extensive examination, even though more automakers were integrating this option in their vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, back in March, has confirmed it was investigating 23 crashes possibly due to Autopilot.
Drivers are required to keep their hands on or near the steering wheel and eyes on the road; Autopilot is oftentimes forfeited. On top of that, critics claim the word “Autopilot” is obscure and doesn’t go with the EV’s performance.
Almost instantly after the incident, Tesla’s shares fell 4.4% to $707.34 as of 9:45 am in New York. Obviously, this was bound to happen.
Federal officials have besmirched Tesla for fire-related accidents regarding their lithium battery packs. In addition, they blamed Tesla for not doing enough effort to keep drivers from using the EV’s driver-assist function inadequately.
Elon Musk tweeted that the safety record in Tesla’s vehicle with Autopilot used is currently “10 times lower” of an accident chance than an average car.
So what’s the verdict? It is yet to be unveiled. However, if no one was driving, or behind the steering wheel, does this make Autopilot the problem or the passengers themselves? There are rules and warnings from Tesla regarding Autopilot. Police and authorities are still investigating, while Elon Musk, Tesla, and Tesla/Musk enthusiasts do not take the blame due to the reasons I just mentioned above. Was it the passengers’ recklessness or was the problem the Autopilot option? Let us know what you think! Drop your comments below!